The Unexpected People Who Keep Grace Helbig & Hannah Hart From Letting Fame Get To Their Heads
Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart have a combined total of 5.4 million subscribers watching them daily on YouTube. They are pioneers of the vlogging phenomenon with their efforts poured into ventures including broadcast TV (Helbig had The Grace Helbig Show on E!) and writing (Hart’s book Buffering will be out this fall). They’re superheroes of their own kind. Now, the two longtime best friends join forces yet again for a reboot of the 1976 television series Electra Woman & Dyna Girl , exploring uncharted territory for themselves: acting. The two, who have helped create a whole new breed of celebrity, simply cannot be stopped. And while they continue cyber and world domination, the amount of followers they have is somehow the last thing on their minds. I caught up with the two upon the premiere of their new flick to see if they’re ever tempted to let their cyber fame inflate their egos and learned the somewhat surprising factors that keep them in check.
Know that from the start, they’ve had one another’s backs. But since the conception of Helbig's it’sGrace and Hart's My Drunk Kitchen, the two have not only supported each other, but have worked together time and time again. Their friendship, along with their careers, has come a long way.
It hasn’t always been easy, though. “Grace and I have been able to work out a lot of kinks in our friendship,” says Hart. “When you’re really close friends with people, you fight. You’re supposed to fight. You should fight.” Perhaps it was fighting that only made the duo stronger. “We learned to communicate so well as business partners, it led to our communication as friends,” Hart says. Helbig speaks to their support system, saying, “We’ve gotten really in-tune with each other in a work environment to really understand when one of us is having an off day — like didn’t get a lot of sleep, distracted — and the other person can kind of… overcompensate and be extra attentive.”
Seems they’ve seen each other through the good, the bad and the ugly. Not only do they exist as each other’s cheerleaders, but as the ones to give the other the real talk they actually need — seemingly rare in Hollywood. “I think we do a really great job at keeping each other grounded, which I think is what made us friends in the first place,” says 30-year-old Helbig. “It was kind of this unspoken bond where we aren’t afraid to call each other out in an attempt to make each other better.” The truth tea spilled between these two is real. “[We’re] not being afraid to be like, ‘That’s not who you are.’ I think we’re decent people at heart. We hold on and really resonate with a level of genuine decency,” Helbig explains.
If there’s one thing that can be hard to find in Tinseltown, it’s genuine decency. “One of the things that I’m grateful for is having real, authentic friendships,” says 29-year-old Hart. “So many people surround themselves with, frankly, yes men. People who are going to agree and applaud and congratulate and try and piggyback off of their success.” Ironic that their fame grows by the day, side-by-side, yet they’re the ones who remind the other of their humble beginnings, even when millions of fans idolize them and watch their every move. Hart explains:
The best part about being friends with people you consider true is that we all started out with nothing, we all started out with no followers, small channels, but we wanted to do this because it was what we wanted to do. The fact that we have millions of followers and stuff genuinely doesn’t cross my mind. We established our friendship long before that and I’m glad we can all still relate to each other now.
But beyond having the honesty of each other, there’s a crucial factor in their lives that exist as the ultimate check point. As Helbig says: their “snarky younger siblings.” “They kind of force us, keep us in check,” she says. “They’re not very much involved with entertainment at all so they don’t have to say anything, but I think we can understand with the facial expressions from them if we’re being ourselves or not.” Yep, leave it blood to provide a truth unlike any other when you’re acting up. “They’re just like, ‘OK,’” says Hart.
Even though their younger siblings are their unintentional fame police, it’s still nothing but love between them.“[We] are secretly kind of obsessed with our younger siblings,” Helbig admits. She calls her 28-year-old brother Tim the “funniest human on the face of the earth.” “Hannah is always sending photos of her younger sister Maggie being like,’“Look at this new lipstick, it’s incredible!,’” she explains. “It’s really wonderful for them to be forced by blood to deal with us.” Hart chimes in: “Yeah, thank God.”
Plus, these two know that at the end of the day, fame has its price. As stated in the movie: “The Internet is terrible and wonderful.” Neither will deny that they’re effected and hurt by the haters. “The Internet is people. It’s gonna be a reflection of that,” says Hart. Helbig calls their place of work AKA the Internet a “playground for rejection” and explains why:
People that are wildly insecure with themselves and need to have some sort of power or control established in their own world and this is the easiest and only way they can do it—by messing with someone that they don’t know through the Internet. We’ve seen friends of ours be hacked and have a lot of awful things happen for absolutely no reason except [because] people doing it are so dissatisfied with their own lives, which is really sad.
If they, or their siblings, aren’t the ones to keep each other grounded, it’s the hateful and unfortunate nature that can come with the Internet which reminds them that cyber fame isn’t all rainbow and butterflies. “It’s like when they say bullies at school are bullied at home,” Hart says. “It’s sad when people are spewing hate because you’re like, ‘God, how much do you hate yourself?’”
But after all of these years, the trials and tribulations of YouTube life, the love and the hate, one thing has remained the same: who they are. Between each other, their siblings and dreaded Internet trolls, it seems it’s almost impossible for fame to alter who they are at the core — and who they were before everything started. “I don’t think it’s change, I think it’s evolution,” says Helbig. “Naturally, I think human beings are supposed to grow and change and hopefully in a helpful and progressive, awesome way. You will get really stressed out and limited if you don’t allow yourself to evolve.”
When I started and ended our conversation, I expressed how delightfully surprised I was at their acting chops in the flick. They both immediately cheered with pure excitement, and Hart said, “I just fell backwards in my chair with joy. It really lights up my life to hear you say that.”
And this is how I know they really are the humble, down-to-earth chicks they were however many years ago, when YouTube was just an idea and going viral only made sense to those in the world of medicine.